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10 Tips to Save Money in the Kitchen and on Groceries
The kitchen is the main room where we gather and eat several times a day. It is a natural congregation point for the family for snacks, family meetings and homework. The kitchen is also where we spend our grocery dollars, the largest budget categories for Americans after housing and taxes.
The kitchen frequently consumes our electricity and water while driving the household budget with disposable items and appliances. Here are ten tips to save money in the kitchen and another ten on saving money on groceries.
10 Tips for Saving on Groceries
- Switch to recipes that require fewer cooking implements. Make stew in a slow cooker or a roast with one pan instead of multi-course meals. You’ll often save meal preparation time, clean up time and water required to clean them.
- Do you drink soda? Buy cans instead of 2 liter containers. The act of drinking from a smaller container instead of repeatedly filling a glass may cause you to drink less. You may also realize the same savings by switching to smaller beer cans or wine bottles.
- Do you enjoy smoothies? Are you buying the frozen diced fruit packs and tossing in the mixer each morning? Buy fresh fruit and freeze it. This is cheaper per pound while the whole fruit can be thawed and used in other recipes if desired. You may also save money by using condensed milk instead of yogurt and peanut butter powder instead of protein shake mix.
- It is common sense to make a list before going to the grocery store. An often neglected step is checking to see what is in the fridge or pantry before you grocery shopping. You may find that you have what your partner has put on the list. Or you may find other items that need to be purchased, avoiding additional shopping trips later.
- Buy generic canned goods for most items on your list. For example, canned corn, canned green beans, canned mushrooms and tomato sauce generally taste the same whether they are in generic labels or brand name labels. And if you are on a tight budget, buy the generic canned goods and add flavor using bottled sauces or spices from your spice rack.
- At least once a month, go through your spice cabinet. Plan a meal that uses the leftover spices and use them up. If in doubt, make meatloaf and toss it all in.
- Find a delicious frozen version of the item your order out most. Buy a few and throw them in the freezer. The $7 frozen pizza seems pricey at the grocery store, but it may save you $15 on delivered pizza. Chicken wings, potato skins and other take out favorites sitting in the freezer may save you a fortune on delivered foods or eating out.
- Keep an eye on the company. Don’t let your kids’ friends assume that they can inhale the food from your refrigerator. Watch how much food your friends eat when they visit. If the visitors are consuming your food frequently, ask them to either reciprocate the favor or compensate you in other ways.
- Buy single serve packets of your beloved comfort foods. Then you can eat ice cream when you’re depressed, but it will be the $2 mini-pack instead of the full gallon container.
- Research where the discount bakeries are located in your area. You can buy snack cakes, bread, bagels and cookies there for a fraction of the price at the grocery store. However, the selection is not limited to baked goods. Many discount bakeries also offer peanut butter, jelly, baking mixes, soup mixes and even condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup.
10 Tips for Saving on Consumables in the Kitchen
1. Train your children to throw napkins, wash clothes and cleaning rags into the laundry basket when done so that they are washed along with clothing. If the reusable items are frequently washed, you are more likely to use them instead of throw away paper towels and cleaning wipes.
2. Use cheap, generic brand paper plates to eat on when it is very hot and your electric rate is highest. You’ll delay the need to do dishes.
3. If you buy cleaning wipes, buy the generic ones instead of the brand name cleaning wipes.
4. Use bathroom cleaners to scrub the kitchen sink.
5. Learn how much detergent is actually needed in the dishwasher. You may be filling the detergent holder to the brim when it only needs to be filled to the line. And don't use rinse agent unless you actually need it, since many people use it to offset the residue left by using too much dish detergent.
6. If your oven has a self-cleaning cycle, run the self-cleaning cycle and then clean the oven with a sponge instead of buying expensive oven cleaner.
7. Rise single serve soda bottles and then fill them with water. Store them in the fridge. You’ll have cool water ready on demand and avoid using disposable paper cups or extra dishes for a quick drink.
8. Check the vent hood or fan above your oven. Do you need to change the filter? Changing that one filter could reduce the odors in your kitchen dramatically, eliminating the need for fancy scent dispensers or cleaning chemicals with additional scents.
9. If you order temperature sensitive items in the mail, the order may have come with a gel pack to keep it cool. Read the label; it may be reusable. A free reusable gel pack may keep lunches or ice coolers cold.
10. Look for Tuperware containers that have been repurposed for storage and organizing around the house to reclaim for the kitchen before you go out and order more.
Additional Money Saving Tips
What are you paying people to do around your home? Can you save money on a housekeeper by paying your kids commissions for doing housework? If money is getting tight, pay your teenager to trim the lawn and sweep the front walkway. Or require any family members living with you for reduced or no rent to join in the housework instead of paying someone else to do it.